And, yes, there is a bit of living on a prayer going on – but 40 for 40 continues!
Life, work, stuff has gotten in the way a bit over recent months in terms of me being able to update this blog but I’ve been keeping the challenge I set myself back on January 1 – to complete 40 events during the calendar year in which I turn 40 – ticking away.
And, last weekend, I reached something of a milestone. I’ve gotten there a little bit later than I had hoped to but I am, nonetheless, now officially halfway. The Paisley 10k was the 20th in a series of events and challenges which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed, even if there is a slight nagging unease of my having bitten off a little more than I can chew.
Yet, still we carry on. It would appear I haven’t written on here since I completed event number 10, which was the Great Edinburgh run back in April. A great deal has happened since so I thought I’ve provide a bit of a summary.
May was a big month for a lot of reasons but it began, for me, with another milestone. I hit the big four uh-oh. It just so happened that my birthday coincided with the annual 10k which is organised by my club, Helensburgh AAC, so I thought it would be rude not to.
I was only a couple of months away from a marathon at the time so I had felt strong and wanted to use it as a tune-up exercise. My family and friends also used it as an excuse to spring various surprises on me and I’ve rarely enjoyed an event more in my life. Oh and my clubmates Chris, Stuart and I won a team prize. It was not the worst way to usher in my fifth decade!
Next up was another local 10k, in Dumbarton, before probably the biggest goal on my events calendar – the Stirling Marathon. It’s my home town, it was the first staging of the event and it turned out to be number 13 in my schedule. There was nothing unlucky about it for me, though, as it turned out to be the best I’ve ever run over 26.2 miles. The first half of it in particular was special and the way the crowds turned out, as well as the collective embrace the event received, really did make it a day to remember. They even put on my favourite weather for marathon running – cold and wet!
I’ll admit it has taken a bit of time to recover fitness – and my running mojo – since. But I’ve been making a conscious choice not to apply pressure and enjoy all these activities for the sake of them. It’s a work in process but that’s part of the fun.
I loved number 14, which was a trail 10k at the beginning of June staged by Salomon on and around Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh. I ran it with my wife Fran and we found that running up and down rocky hillsides in the pouring rain turned out to be a fantastic way to spend a Saturday night.
An attempt to kick start my legs back into gear came during event 15, the Vale of Leven 10k, which starts and finishes barely half a mile from my house. The brain was willing but, although my legs were still in the huff, it was another good run under the belt and a few more decent steps on the road to recovery.
If my lower limbs had been a little miffed then they were downright furious at what I inflicted on them at the start of July, with my first attempt at a proper hill race. The hill in question was Ben Ledi and the event involved ascending 750m on a circular route. It was painful, disorientating, fascinating and glorious all at the same time. My abiding memory, however, was of the closing 400 hundred metres or so, the point at which I came off the hillside and on to a welcoming, downhill stretch of forestry track.
Sensing the finish line my brain went ‘push’ and my legs felt like they went in four different directions. The sensation of hitting level ground after doing your best to get down a steep slope as quickly as possible will take some getting used to!
Event 17 was my first foray of the year into triathlon – at the St Mary’s Loch Triathlon in the Scottish Borders. The weather was awful (having to pedal hard downhill is never a sign of favourable wind conditions) but my friend Chris and I were both pleasantly surprised with how we fared. Truthfully, we’d both forgotten how much we enjoyed multi-sport.
I returned to running for event 18, an 8km canalside race which forms part of the Tour of Clydeside series. I was supposed to blast my way along it but it was definitely more a case of my feeling burst.
Event 19 didn’t last long – 800m to be exact – but it was a pleasure from start to finish. I was lucky enough that my job meant I spent an amazing 10 days in London covering the IAAF World Championships. It also meant I got to take part in the media race, during which the organisers treated us mere mortal journalists as if we were prime athletic specimens – the veneer only slipping when we actually started to run. It was amazing to get an athletes’ eye view of that track and that stadium.
And that brings us to the weekend just gone in Paisley and the 10k which took the tally to 20. It’s a great event, which had record numbers running in it this year. I knew after mile 2, and the exertions of a hectic work summer, that I wouldn’t be threatening any personal records but I still pushed myself and, with just over four months left to squeeze the next 20 events in, I will continue to keep pushing myself. There are plans afoot and I think it’s time to get back in the water…
PS – Apologies if you now have Bon Jovi stuck in your head…
PPS Please remember this is all in the name of a good cause:
- I have challenged myself to complete 40 events – involving running, swimming and triathlon – in the calendar year of 2017, the year I turn 40. I am raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support. You can find my JustGiving page here. Thank you to everyone who has donated so far. It really is very much appreciated and if you have any event recommendations, please get in touch!
PPPS Thank you!